Heavy-Metal and Mercury Toxicity

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Heavy-Metal and Mercury Toxicity

Our environment has become polluted with many environmental chemicals and heavy metals. These toxins have become an inseparable part of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Toxic exposure can affect us on a daily basis–from sources we may never even suspect.

The human body is not capable of metabolizing and processing large quantities of toxins, and as a result, allows toxins to accumulate. This can have both subtle and powerful effects on your well being. As toxins build up, they can damage cells and displace key nutrients your body needs to function properly. Scientists are finding more and more that the amount of toxins necessary to affect behavior and the central nervous system is much lower than previously believed. With repeated exposure, toxins may eventually accumulate inside organ tissue, such as those of the brain, liver and kidney. Toxins can also increase production of free radicals and disease. 

Early signs of heavy-metal poisoning are often vague and attributed to other causes. They include: fatigue, headache, indigestion, muscle pains, tremors, anemia, pallor, constipation, dizziness, poor coordination, and a metallic taste in the mouth. Almost everyone with even mild heavy-metal toxicity will experience impaired ability to think or concentrate. As toxicity increases, so do the symptoms. Chronic heavy-metal toxicity is a major problem in the workplace. Workers with extremely high exposure include battery makers, dentists, gasoline station attendants, printers, roofers, and solders. 

Every effort needs to be made to reduce exposure to heavy metals – and to take nutritional measures that help the body to rid itself of the toxic excesses that have accumulated in its tissues. 

The Five Most Common Toxic Heavy Metals – Sources and General Physiological Effects 


Sources: Antacids, antiperspirants, baking powders, beverage/food cans, buffred aspirin, canned foods, city water supplies, cookware and utensils, cosmetics, foil, lipstick, ore smelting plants, processed cheeses, etc. 

General physiological effects:  Abundant in today’s environment and toxic in excessive quantities, aluminum is mostly absorbed through the skin, lungs, and intestinal tract. Aluminum toxicity seems to affect the bones (causing brittleness or osteoporosis), kidneys, stomach, and brain. Research suggests that it may also contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and other neurological disorders. 


Sources:  Chemical processing plants, cigarette smoke, drinking water, fungicides, meats and seafood, metal foundries, ore smelting plants, pesticides, polluted air, specialty glass products, weed killers, wood preservatives, etc. 

General physiological effects: Extremely poisonous as well as colorless and odorless, arsenic can enter the body through the mouth, lungs and skin. Arsenic toxicity seems to predominantly affect the skin, lungs and gastrointestinal system, and may cause nervous disorders, deteriorated motor coordination, respiratory diseases, and kidney damage as well as cancers of the skin, liver, bladder and lungs. 


Sources: Air pollution, batteries, ceramic glazes/enamels, cigarette smoke (both first and second hand), tap and well water, food (if grown in cadmium contaminated soil), fungicides, mines, paints, power and smelting plants, seafood, etc. 

General physiological effects: Exposure to cadmium can occur through inhalation or ingestion in places or situations where cadmium products are used, manufactured, or ingested. Cigarette smoke is the biggest source of cadmium toxicity, which seems to primarily affect the lungs, kidneys, bones, and immune system. It may lead to lung cancer, prostate cancer and heart disease, and also causes yellow teeth and anemia. Cadmium also seems to contribute to autoimmune thyroid disease. 


Sources: Air pollution, ammunition, auto exhaust, batteries, containers for corrosives, contaminated soil, cosmetics, fertilizers, foods (if grown in lead-contaminated soil), hair dyes, insecticides, lead-based paints, lead-glazed pottery, pesticides, solder, tobacco smoke, water (if transported via lead pipes), etc. 

General physiological effects: Lead is a naturally-occurring neurotoxin. Although many lead containing products (such as gasoline and house paints) were banned in the 1970s, contamination still occurs today mostly by drinking lead contaminated water, breathing lead-polluted air, and living in or near older painted buildings and certain toxic industrial areas. Lead toxicity primarily targets the nervous system, kidneys, bones, heart and blood, and poses greatest risk to infants, young children and pregnant women. It can affect fetal development, delay growth, and may also cause attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, behavioral defects, and other developmental problems. 


Sources: Air pollution, barometers, batteries, cosmetics, dental amalgam fillings, freshwater fish (such as bass and trout), fungicides, insecticides, laxatives, paints, pesticides, saltwater fish (such as tuna and swordfish), shellfish, tap and well water, thermometers, thermostats, vaccines, etc. 

General physiological effects: Both poisonous and dangerous, mercury is found throughout our environments in many forms and also in many household items. Mercury often permeates the ground we walk on, and is also found in some childhood vaccines today because of its use as a preservative. Mercury as used in dental fillings is the primary source of toxic exposure, and in vapor form accounts for the majority of all exposures (via inhalation). Mercury toxicity can affect the central nervous system, kidneys and liver. Research suggests that this heavy metal may also contribute to autism and multiple sclerosis.

Over­all, it’s more impor­tant to focus on the root cause and what are the under­ly­ing mech­a­nisms that are caus­ing sickness and lack of vitality rather than just treat­ing it symp­to­mati­cally.  Each per­son is encour­aged to seek out a qual­i­fied nutri­tion­ist or other qualified healthcare practitioner in order to assess exactly which nutri­ents, herbs, home­o­pathics and nat­ural reme­dies; in which com­bi­na­tion; in what pro­por­tion are right for the par­tic­u­lar individual and are intended at treat­ing the root cause rather than just a symptom. 

How can you test for heavy metals? 

Because hair actually retains the toxic elements trapped in your body, hair screening can provide an accurate and powerful means of evaluating the effects of cumulative, long-term exposure to toxins.  A growing hair follicle first begins forming far below the skin, exposing it to a rich supply of blood vessels. As the follicle grows, toxic elements in the blood are absorbed into the growing hair protein. 

When hair reaches the skin surface, it undergoes a hardening process called keratinization – where toxins accumulated during hair formation become sealed into the protein structure of the hair. By this process, toxic concentrations of hair will reflect toxic concentrations in other body tissues.  That’s why just a small amount of your hair can give you a safe, accurate, convenient, and economical way of determining long-term accumulation of toxins in your body.

For more information go to our Lab Assessment Services tab and click on Heavy Metal Testing or contact us on how to get yourself tested for heavy metals to not only prevent disease but also to help restore optimal health.


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